In order to ensure transparency and promote accountability in the housing sector, Nigeria’s leading advocacy group, Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) has called on public sector stakeholders like governors, ministers of housing and that of the Federal Capital Territory to publicly reveal its dealings, especially the signing of Certificate of Occupancies (C of 0s) on a quarterly basis.
According to a statement signed by Festus Adebayo, such initiative will win the confidence of investors and general public on the public stakeholders and further the current progress being made in the housing sector.
An effective housing sector, according to Adebayo is one that thrives on transparency and accountability. Both policy makers and implementers should endeavor to always open their books for public knowledge.
The disclosure of Title Issuance for example, they said, is a key performance indicator for tracking housing development and ease of doing business in the country.
The statement further mentioned that there is need to make public the number of mortgages created by all primary mortgage institutions in the country.
According to Adebayo, the lack of accurate data has continued to pose challenges to the operators in the sector.
“It is a big problem and it is sad because you can’t do much without accurate data. There should be a public information portable that is accessible for all.’’
Citing Rwanda as a relevant case study, Adebayo mentioned that Nigeria can take a leaf from how the country has successfully managed to achieve this
“If you look at Rwanda that even came out of a genocide, you will find that every single plot of land in has now been registered 100 per cent. Indeed, if you have the right application, you can input a plot in Rwanda and it will tell you who the owner is.
“If government understands the economic imperatives involved in land titling and making consent easier, maybe things will be better for us. Land titling is like tax nets, the government can raise income through property taxes,” he said.
Expanding on the importance of making the data public, Adebayo said “This information will help us to have data that will help in policy formulation toward a better housing sector investment.
“In a situation where a minister or a governor knows that he will need to give an account of number of C of O he signed in a particular period of time, such a minister or governor will have somebody who will be seriously responsible for that and if that person makes him not to deliver as at when due, you can rest assured that such a minister or governor will do what is right to such staff”.
“There is no better time to have information on number of C of O being signed by governors and ministers for housing in this country than now. This should be regarded as part of dividend of democracy, and by the way, Freedom of Information Act allows any organisation or citizen like to write and seek information but even without getting to that level, we are calling for a sense of responsibility that will make Nigeria to have information on matters like this in the public domain,” he said.
Housing Development Advocacy Network is the largest non-profit, Non-governmental organization promoting affordable housing in Africa. They are currently in partnership with a number of public stakeholders including the Senate Committee on Housing to enact some laws that will help develop the country’s housing sector.